May 20, 2024

WRC Safari Rally: Rovanpera sets pace with Friday Morning Sweep

WRC Safari Rally: Rovanpera sets pace with Friday Morning Sweep
Photo courtesy of WRC

Rovanpera's standout moment came on the rugged tracks of Kedong, where he outpaced all competitors by 11.1 seconds over 31 kilometers

Kalle Rovanpera, the defending World Rally champion, showcased a stellar performance at the Safari Rally in Kenya, seizing an 11-second lead after dominating all morning stages on Friday.

Rovanpera propelled his Toyota team into a significant lead in one of the toughest rallies to date, extending his overall leaderboard advantage to 15.5 seconds ahead of Essapeka Lappi.

Rovanpera's standout moment came on the rugged tracks of Kedong, where he outpaced all competitors by 11.1 seconds over 31 kilometers. By the mid-leg service, the 23-year-old had widened his lead to 15.5 seconds over Lappi.

Reflecting on his performance on the Kedong stage, Rovanpera commented, “This stage has been really enjoyable every year, and now we went in the opposite direction with different pace notes. Even with the new notes, I wanted to commit to it, and it was satisfying. We pushed hard, and I'm pleased with the time.”

 


The morning brought drama for overnight leader Thierry Neuville, who faced challenges navigating through Kedong after encountering a hole on his Hyundai, causing significant dust to infiltrate the cabin. Despite leading after the opening spectator stage in Nairobi, Neuville, alongside navigator Martijn Wydaeghe, slipped to 6th place due to rear-right tire damage.

M-Sport Ford Puma pair Adrien Fourmaux and Grégoire Munster completed the morning stages without issue, securing seventh and eighth positions respectively, while Gus Greensmith comfortably led the WRC2 category in ninth place after tire troubles for Oliver Solberg. Greek privateer Jourdan Serderidis rounded out the top 10 at the day’s midpoint.

1. Rovanpera
2. Lappi
3. Tannak
4. Katsuta
5. Evans
6. Neuville